Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Saranac Autumn Pils


3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1182) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 23, 2014
Brewing a German or Czech pilsner exactly to spec would seem to be a fairly easy thing to do, since these style are known for having no frills. Yet, so few breweries do them well, so I’m impressed and pleased when I find a very good example of either style. Saranac Autumn Pils is a Czech-style pilsner that I think would hold its own quite well if judged on style specifications.

I poured a 12oz bottle into my Saranac-emblazoned shaker glass. It has a best before date of 1/31/15 and came as part of an autumn seasonal mix pack for $14.99 ($1.25 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright golden hue over a clear body with consistent carbonation visible. Pours to a two-finger, white, fluffy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Light lemony notes on top of the usual all-malt pilsner aroma. Pleasant.

Taste: The beer claims to be a new spin on an Old World style, though the modernity quality is subtle. The palette here is what you expect and want out of a pilsner: light malt character with a mixture of spicy and citrusy hops and a smooth, clean finish. The taste is a bit “softer” than most pilsners, but does retain the familiar character. The Sterling hops create for a slight lemon zest flavor while the Saaz hops account for a minor spice and dry bitterness. There’s no adjuncts here, which is nice, since there’s a general clean, unfettered quality to this palette. Maybe a little bit more distinctiveness would be nice, but it’s more than satisfying as it is.

Drinkability: I based this review on two back-to-back servings. The first glass of Saranac Autumn Pils was so easily drinkable and refreshing that I downed it quickly (which is odd since I wasn’t especially thirsty at the time). This is definitely what a pilsner should be as far as delivery: light, thin mouthfeel with strong, but approachable, carbonation. It goes down smooth and leaves no aftertaste. At 5.5% ABV it’s a tad heavy to truly session, but that second bottle sat just as lightly as the first. 
Grade: 8/10